Assessment of antioxidant/anticarcinogenic activity of plant extracts by a combination of molecular methods
Cancer chemoprevention is considered to be a promising approach for cancer control, as it has been identified by both epidemiological and molecular studies that environmental factors are the major causes of cancer. Chemoprevention can be defined as the use of agents to prevent, inhibit or reverse the process of carcinogenesis. Several epidemiological studies have shown that fruits, vegetables and common beverages, as well as herbs and plants, are rich sources of chemopreventive compounds. In the present report, a battery of in vitro methods for the identification of chemopreventive agents are presented. These methods include: i) inhibition of bleomycin-induced mutations in Salmonella typhimurium TA102 cells, ii) inhibition of bleomycin-induced sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) in human peripheral blood lymphocytes, iii) protection from mitomycin C-induced DNA strand breakage and iv) inhibition of topoisomerase I DNA relaxation. The first three methods are also used for the identification of agents which prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated DNA damage.